Photo credit: @boogiecousins
By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
After news broke that four-time NBA All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins had signed with the world champion Golden State Warriors agreed to the one-year veteran’s minimum of $5.3 million on Monday, it’s like the Warriors delivered a massive gut-punch to the rest of the NBA.
Golden State already have four All-Stars in back-to-back Finals: MVP Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson; so adding a player like Cousins was the rich getting richer.
Sure there are some risks involved when you do bring Cousins into your locker room, such as his reputation of being a malcontent, unhappy, a bully and destructive, mainly from his time in Sacramento when things didn’t go right and the losses started to mount up.
The Kings missed the playoffs every year after selecting Cousins with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 draft after one season at Kentucky.
Also, the torn Achilles tendon that Cousins is currently rehabbing. Cousins himself said that he is targeting being ready for full basketball activities by training camp. Most people are expecting Cousins to be on the court by end of December or early January.
Before the injury, Cousins was having a monster season for New Orleans, averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks per game in 48 games for the Pelicans.
For most teams, that timetable for a star player’s return is almost catastrophic, but not for Golden State. The Warriors, who lost fan-favorite in center JaVale McGee to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, can plug in four-year man Kevon Looney, who agreed to return to Golden State on a one-year minimum deal on Tuesday to fill the void in the middle. Looney’s ability to defend guards along with bigs was key for Golden State in the playoffs.
ESPN was the first to report the news on Looney’s contract. The Warriors are also hoping that third-year center Damian Jones makes the leap and contribute on a nightly basis. The 7’0″, 245-pound Jones showed some flashes last season in limited action.
Once healthy, Cousins will play with the ultimate chip on his shoulder after not receiving an offer from any team during the early stages of free agency as most teams had major concerns regarding Cousins’ injury. Cousins’ former team, the Pelicans, didn’t offer him a contract, and according to those in the know around the Pelicans, didn’t want Cousins to return.
So if you’re Cousins, the opportunity to play on the Warriors with the benefits of competing for a championship and having fun while rehabbing is just too much to pass up right? Also if Cousins plays well for Golden State, especially come playoff time when he would be greatly useful for scoring easy baskets inside, then a team will be willing to pony-up a hefty contract for “Boogie.”
For Golden State, Cousins potentially solves the one position that has been a glaring weakness during a four-year run that has produced three titles (first coming in 2015), and back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018.
With the strong bond and the accountability that the Warriors’ locker room prides itself on, Cousins should be a model citizen.